Pubdate: Thu, 30 Nov 2017
Source: Vancouver Courier (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 Vancouver Courier
Author: John Kurucz


Vancouver comic Mark Hughes interviews fentanyl dealer as part of
recently launched podcast

Death has been a constant in Kyle's life for 25 years.

It's a narrative that goes hand in hand with his lifestyle, and shows
no signs of abating.

Kyle - not his real name - is a fentanyl dealer. He says he's killed
people with his own hands, and by extension, through his line of work.
Kyle spoke to Vancouver comedian Mark Hughes as part of Hughes'
recently-launched podcast called Pulling the Trigger. The Courier
attempted to speak with Kyle, but he declined on more than one occasion.

He spoke to Hughes earlier this month, and the conversation went live
today (Thursday, Nov. 23).

"There is a guy I went to elementary school with who has personally
died from my product 27 times," Kyle said.

At 38, Kyle has been trafficking drugs for roughly 25 years. The only
interruption during that time was when Kyle went to prison between the
ages of 15 and 19 for manslaughter.

Out of prison before he turned 20, Kyle took a warehouse job as part
of his parole and probation. He went back to selling drugs soon after
- - cocaine, heroin and MDMA.

He deals on behalf of a "mother organization" and says he continually
resisted moving into the fentanyl trade.

"It breaks my heart. I hate it. It was by far not what I wanted. It
was not what I saw for this business. I fought it at every
opportunity. I fought it, but this stuff is here by popular demand,"
Kyle said. "This is not dealers imposing their will on Vancouver. This
is Vancouver saying, 'Hey we heard about what happened over in Europe,
we want that stuff.'"

Kyle said the tipping point for him came when he had a cache of heroin
in his home that wasn't moving.

"As a dealer in opiates, I was loathe to get into the fentanyl trade.
People called me a martyr for the cause of heroin. I was a straggler.
I didn't want to. But it's reached full market saturation. If you buy
a kilo of heroin now, you may as well pave a road with it. Nobody wants it."

Kyle says one of the biggest misconceptions around fentanyl is the
notion that people take fentanyl mistakenly, or that a fatal overdose
is the result of a tainted mixture with cocaine or heroin.

"[The overdoses] are from people expressedly asking for fentanyl,"
Kyle said. "They aren't just saying, 'Give me some heroin.' They are
people screaming for fentanyl."

Kyle described fentanyl as similar in appearance to the candy Nerds,
and it's sometimes referred to as "Purple Pebbles."

One-tenth of a gram can kill someone. It typically arrives in
Vancouver via mail order, usually in the finger of a latex glove.

Kyle has to wear a gas mask when he unpackages it.

Asked why he would sell a volatile product that can kill his client
base, Kyle responded, "They'd go to Joe Blow that has it. It's supply
and demand. If I don't do it, somebody else will."

Statistics released by the BC Coroners Service Nov. 9 point to 1,103
overdose deaths in the province as of Sept. 30.

More than 80 per cent of all illicit drug overdose deaths (914) had
fentanyl detected, an increase of 147 per cent over the same period in
2016. In Vancouver, 223 people died from fentanyl-detected overdoses
over the same period of time.

Hughes says he knows at least 60 people who have died from fentanyl
over the last 18 months. He was addicted to heroin and cocaine for
close a decade, and spent time in jail for armed robbery. Hughes has
been sober for 11 years and supplements his stand-up comedy work by
selling fire alarms. He came to know Kyle through his comedy gig and
it was through their occasional chats on Facebook that Hughes got him
to talk.

"Based on watching his body language and listening to him, I think
there is some conflict there about what he is doing. I can relate to
that," Hughes said.

Kyle is originally from California. He described his father as "An
uncouth asshole. Not like a cool, toy drive biker. A scum-of-the-earth
biker." Kyle's family came to Canada via his uncle, a heroin dealer,
and he grew up in East Vancouver.

Kyle has two kids and isn't married. The eldest child is

"He can see what's going on. And it's scary, because all of a sudden
he's like, 'Does it really matter if I graduate, Dad?' And I say yeah,
it f*ing matters."

Kyle said he does what he does because he has no other

"I have zero education," he said. "I didn't have a chance to get an
education. There's no way that I can make enough to support two
children in Vancouver in any other occupation that I'm qualified for."

Kyle said fentanyl's emergence across Canada is not an if, but a

"If you live in a city where fentanyl is not killing everybody, it's
coming soon," he said. "When it does comeĀ… heroin is going to be as
romanticized as opium and old leather."

The entire conversation can be found at Hughes' Soundcloud channel,
located at
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